Patriots

Cole Strange thought he was getting pranked when the Patriots said they were drafting him

"I’ve got some crazy friends. Is this a prank?"

Barry Chin/Globe Staff
Cole Strange was also surprised when he learned that the Patriots were drafting him.

The Patriots’ first-round selection of Cole Strange stunned the NFL world. It also stunned the player they selected.

In an interview with MassLive’s Chris Mason, Strange’s father, Greg, shared that his son was confused when he got a call from an unidentified number late in the first round.

“(Cole) said, ‘Sir, I don’t mean to be disrespectful at all, but I’ve gotta know because I’ve got some crazy friends. Is this a prank?’ The guy said, ‘Hold on just a second,'” Strange’s father recalled. “And then Bill Belichick got on the phone and of course, unless you’ve been under a rock for the last 20 years, you know Bill Belichick’s voice.”

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When Strange and his family realized the Patriots were drafting him, the confusion turned to jubilation.

“As soon as I heard Bill Belichick’s voice, Cole and I both started screaming and hugging and acting crazy,” Greg Strange said. “Probably saying a bunch of inappropriate stuff. We were so excited. To his credit, you’ve gotta love the guy, Belichick is sitting there and when we got through, the first break he had, he said, ‘Hey Cole, you’ve gotta act like you’ve been there, man.’ It was classic to us. We absolutely loved it.”

New England’s selection of Strange stunned NFL draft analysts. While scouts viewed the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga guard as one of the best prospects at his position, most didn’t think Strange would be selected until late in the second round at the earliest. Rams coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead joked later that evening that they thought he might have been available when they were on the clock in the third round.

As the initial shock of the Patriots’ first-round pick has passed, it won’t be surprising to possibly see Strange get playing time right away. New England was down a starting guard entering the draft after it traded Shaq Mason to Tampa Bay in March. Early depth chart projections project Strange to start at left guard with Michael Onwenu kicking over to right guard to replace Mason.

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